Franklin County opposes land deals

The Franklin County legislature has unanimously passed a resolution opposing the state’s proposed acquisition of Follensby Pond and some 65,000 acres once owned by Finch, Pruyn & Co., according to this story in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

The action follows a similar resolution adopted last week by the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board. Yesterday, the Adirondack Council accused the board of overstepping its authority. The council also accused Fred Monroe, the board’s executive director, of having a conflict of interest, since he belongs to a hunting club that would lose its lease if the state buys the Finch, Pruyn lands.

Earlier today, Monroe pushed back against the council. “It’s a classic Adirondack Council tactic,” he told me, “to obscure the facts, divert attention from the issues, and make personal attacks. ”

Monroe said the Review Board’s resolution reflects concerns he has heard from many towns. He expects a number of towns and counties to adopt resolutions against the land purchases. He hopes a groundwell of opposition to the deals will convince Governor Andrew Cuomo to block them. At this time, however, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has no plans to back out of the deals. The lands were purchased by the Nature Conservancy with the understanding that they would eventually be added to the Forest Preserve.

Meanwhile, Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan is sticking to his guns. In an e-mail to the Explorer, he wrote: “We still think the Review Board’s resolution was inaccurate, inappropriate and unethical and should be withdrawn.”

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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